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DeNure in zone at stretch
Photo for the Times: Duke Goetz Monroe senior Brett DeNure finished as the state runner-up Saturday in the 800 at the WIAA Division 2 state track meet at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosses Veterans Memorial Stadium.
LA CROSSE - If Monroe senior Brett DeNure has a competitor in his sights coming down the homestretch of the 800-meter run, it's a good gamble to predict he will overtake them.

DeNure surged over the last 150-meters of the 800 and won a silver medal with a time of 1 minute, 55.24 seconds at the WIAA Division 2 state track meet at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse's Veterans Memorial Stadium.

"I've always thought I was one of the best 800-meter runners in the state," DeNure said. "I have always strived to be the best. I don't know who doesn't like to be the best."

DeNure also anchored the 1,600 relay to a third place finish and paced the Cheesemakers to a seventh place finish at state as a team with 26 points. Wautoma-Faith Christian edged West Salem for a state championship, 35-33.

DeNure conferred with Monroe boys track coach Dave Hirsbrunner about a running plan for the 800 before the race.

DeNure didn't know whether to kick it in at the 150 or 300-meter mark. He chose the 150 mark and the state runner-up finish tells the story.

"I'm happy with my second place finish," DeNure said. "I'm not going to say it's the best race of my life."

DeNure has been renowned for his kick down the stretch.

"It just comes down to what you do down the homestretch," he said. "It's a hard race."

With the finish, DeNure will receive All-State honors in the 800. DeNure has been to state in cross country and track every year in high school.

"He's confident and always has a game plan," Hirsbrunner said. "He followed it out perfectly. It's really a storybook ending for a senior. Not many get to end like that."

The Cheesemakers' 1,600 relay team of Bryan Tordoff, Tad Christen, Cullen Sampson and DeNure finished third with a personal record time of 3:24.83.

"We knew the only way we wanted to go out is to leave it all on the track," Christen said. "We did that today and we are bringing home a medal."

Tordoff said that coaches always says the key to the 1,600 relay is the last 50 meters of each leg.

"We put everyone in a good position and I think we did that," Tordoff said.

Hirsbrunner knew that Tordoff would be the key.

"He had a little bit of pressure as the lead off," Hirsbrunner said. "For us to be successful, we have to have a great leadoff. His leg kind of set the toine for the rest of the race."

As one of three seniors on the 1,600 relay team, Sampson had a historic run at Monroe. After relocating from Poynette, Sampson competed in six straight state tournaments and meets in every sports season he played at Monroe. He played on the state runner-up basketball team this year and has had two appearances at state in cross country, basketball and track since moving to Monroe.

"It's just amazing," Sampson said. "We knew we had a shot. That is the atmosphere and the place to go out."